Introduction to Diarrhoea
Diarrhoea can be explained as a loose, watery stool mainly of bowel movements. Having loose stools over three to more times in a single day can be the very symptom of diarrhoea. Acute diarrhoea is diarrhoea that lasts for a shorter period. It only lasts for hardly a couple of days, but sometimes it may last longer too. However, it goes away on its own. Diarrhoea that lasts for more than a few days can indicate the sign of a more critical problem. Chronic diarrhoea that lasts at least four weeks can truly be the sign of chronic disease. Chronic diarrhoea symptoms may be frequent, or they may come and go.
Causes of Diarrhoea
There are multiple causes of diarrhoea therefore immediate attention and thorough care is needed to overcome the disease. Some of the key causes of diarrhoea are mentioned below.
- Contaminated food or water can be a common cause of diarrhoea.
- Viruses including flu, norovirus, or rotavirus can also result in diarrhoea. Rotavirus is considered as the most common reason for acute diarrhoea among infants.
- Parasites like tiny organisms present in dirty food or water
- Medicines like antibiotics, cancer drugs, and antacids that possess magnesium
- Food intolerances and sensitivities, which are issues of digesting certain elements or foods like lactose intolerance.
- The illness that impact the stomach, small intestine, or colon, for instance, Crohn’s disease
- Issues with how the colon works, such as irritable bowel syndrome
- In some cases, people suffer from diarrhoea after stomach surgery, as surgery can cause food to move through your digestive system more rapidly.
- Occasionally, no reason for diarrhoea is found. If diarrhoea ends in a few days, then looking for the cause is not important.
Complications of diarrhoea
Diarrhoea may result in dehydration, where your body lacks enough fluid and electrolytes to function appropriately. The body suffering from diarrhoea loses more fluid and electrolytes in loose stools than solid stools.
Malabsorption may be the factor of diarrhoea. If not sufficient nutrients are absorbed from the food that is eaten, the body may get malnourished. Certain situations that can result in chronic diarrhoea include infections, food allergies and intolerances, and some digestive tract issue may also result in malabsorption. Diarrhoea is considered as one of the most frequent health complaints. It can range from a mild, temporary situation to a possible life-risking one. It is important to note the type of meals, foods and beverages that might result in worsening the diarrhoea:
- Sugar-free gum, mints, sweet cherries, and prunes
- Caffeinated drinks and medications
- Fructose in excessive amounts, from fruit juices, grapes, honey, dates, nuts, figs, soft drinks, and prunes
- Lactose in dairy products
- Olestra (Olean), which is a fat substitute
- Anything that contains artificial sweeteners
Internationally, a projected 2 billion cases of the diarrheal disease occur annually. In addition to that, approximately 1.9 million infants below the age of 5 years mostly in developing states pass away from diarrhoea every year. In this regard, diarrhoea is considered to be the second principal cause of death in this age group. If an individual regularly passes stools but they are of normal consistency, then it is not diarrhoea. Likewise, breastfed babies often pass loose and sticky stools which is normal.
Major causes of chronic diarrhoea
This is a determined kind of diarrhoea that usually impacts older people. It progresses due to inflammation and happens often during the night.
Malabsorptive and Maldigested Diarrhea
The primary is due to impaired nutrient absorption, and the second is due to impaired digestive function.
A history of travel or antibiotic use can sign in chronic diarrhoea. Numerous bacteria and parasites can also be factors.
Laxatives and other drugs that incorporate including antibiotics can activate the diarrhoea.
Occasionally, hormonal factors result in diarrhoea.
Neoplastic diarrhoea is linked with a variety of gut cancers.
Treatments of Diarrhoea
Minor cases of acute diarrhoea can be fixed without treatment. However, for persistent or chronic diarrhoea, a doctor will treat any fundamental reasons in addition to the signs of diarrhoea. Some of the possible treatments of Diarrhea are discussed below.
Children and adult people are mainly vulnerable to dehydration. Rehydration is considered as the vital step in the treatment of diarrhoea. People can substitute fluids by simply drinking more of them. In extreme cases, a person might get the need for intravenous fluids. Oral rehydration solution or salts (ORS) means water that consists of salt and glucose. The small intestine consumes the solution to substitute the water and electrolytes lost in the stool. In developing states, ORS costs just a few cents. The World Health Organization (WHO) claims that ORS can safely and effectively treat over 90% of non-severe diarrhoea cases. Zinc supplementation may also decrease the harshness and duration of diarrhoea among infants.
Over-the-counter, antidiarrheal medications also exist. These incorporate loperamide (Imodium) and bismuth sub salicylate (Pepto-Bismol). Imodium is an antimotility drug that decreases stool passage. Pepto-Bismol decreases diarrheal stool output in adults and children. It can also stop traveller’s diarrhoea. People can buy these products online or from the counter. There is some concern that antidiarrheal medications could extend bacterial infection by decreasing the removal of pathogens from stools.
Antibiotics can only treat diarrhoea due to bacterial infections. If the cause is a certain medication, swapping to another drug might assist. Always consult a doctor prior to switching medication.
Some of the following diet tips may assist the patient with diarrhoea.
- Drinking clear liquids, that includes electrolyte drinks, water, or fruit juice without mixing sugar
- After each loose stool, substituting lost fluids with at least 1 cup of liquid
- Drinking should be between and not during meals
- High potassium foods and liquids, that includes diluted fruit juices, potatoes without the skin, and bananas.
- Absorbing high sodium foods and liquids, mainly broths, soups, sports drinks, and salted crackers
- Eating foods high in soluble fibre, that includes banana, oatmeal, and rice, as these assist in thickening of the stool
- Restricting foods that may make worsen the diarrhoea, such as creamy, fried, high dairy, and sugary foods